Disappointing to hear that your experience wasn't the best. I'm curious about which encounters people found overly difficult. I was hoping to create encounters that were challenging and weren't just monster(s) in a square 30-foot room. I was also hoping have a fair variety of encounters so that different PCs get a chance to shine and where PCs get to use different tactics.
As James has said, feedback - especially detailed feedback, helps all of us improve.
Glad you enjoyed it. I have been doing a few things. The most recently released is Wrath of the Accursed for Pathfinder Society. I've stuck links to the other products on my profile, if you're interested.
Nice report, I hope you and all the players enjoyed the adventure.
Very interesting to see how certain aspects worked for your group.
I know that some of the encounters, especially at the end, are quite complex, but as a player I want my PC to get themselves into a wide variety of situations.
Thank you for taking the time write such a detailed report.
Some advice for Round 4
This year’s round 4 is similar to last year’s, so here is some advice from someone who has been through the process. (I’m hoping that you can learn from some of my missteps in this round.)
Hope that helps,
A Pathfinder Society Scenario as a prize for the Top 4, that is very cool!
This competition just keeps getting better!
If you are on the fence about entering, here are more reasons to enter:
Getting your adventure illustrated by professional artists is a pretty amazing feeling. Just imagine your ideas getting the same treatment.
This is really good stuff, especially the list of the Pathfinder Vudra sources. This thread would have greatly speeded up my research on Cult of the Ebon Destroyers. India really has such a diverse, interesting culture that it is hard to condense it.
One little hidden canon titbit I found:
Thank you Josh. Your job always seemed to me to be a little thankless, but as you can see, your dedication and effort has and will continue to be appreciated by many (myself included). Lost at Bitter End is one of my favorite PFS mods (and yes that is against some extremely tough competition).
Good luck with whatever you decide for your future.
Good points, I guess it comes down to how much you read into each source. Your analogy of modern European royalty is what I was thinking as well, not much tangible power but plenty of prestige and a great lifestyle. That said, if you wanted to strike at heart of a nation, the death or loss of power by even a figurehead ruler can have major repercussions.
I'll definitely consider all of these things so that they logically fit.
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Glad you noticed that, the Thukur is a symbol as well as a leader/figurehead. This is why the Thukur had to call on his advisors to outlaw the cult, his word alone might not have been enough. This is also the reason that when the PCs meet with the Thukur, it is all done through Naasim. Lastly it is also the reason that the cult is striking at the symbol of leadership. If they can force the Thukur to back down, or kill the Thukur, they show the power of the cult to the whole of Jalmeray.
Have a look at Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible, it also has a some small implications about the power of the Thukur.
Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible minor spoiler:
PFS #33 wrote:
The Thakur of Jalmeray recognizes the great service you have done for his country and spreads the word of your deeds to the corners of the island.
Hope that helps clarify things.
Thanks NeonParrot for your support and ideas. The judges comments were posted at the start of the voting period. One thing I've learnt from this contest is to take critism and comments, even from the judges, with a grain of salt. :-) I really appreciate you posting up extra ideas to help with the adventure. The 'river monsters' episode looks very interesting, I've heard that this is a reccuring Indian legend.
Hey Ben, again thank you for your gracious comments in round 5. I certainly could feel how close it was in round 4. I wanted to congratulate you on your entries in this year’s competition. I think that you really got a crowd of people behind your ideas and entries. You were a strong competitor and I think that this will bring you more opportunities for work in the RPG industry if you want them. I certainly would enjoy seeing more of your ideas.
Hey Jesse, I wanted to thank you and congratulate you on your entries this year. I thought that you had a great evocative flavor and that I got a vibe that you and I think in similar ways about how to go about roleplaying design. I also like that you got on the boards and people could get a feel for the kind of people you (and your Femme Nikita) are. I think that people (including Paizo people) noticed. Pitch some ideas and see if you can get some of your cool flavor into a published product or two.
Hey Richard, I just looked you up on PenandPaper. Impressive to get into the printed Dragon magazine, I’m sure I have read the ‘Wow your players’ article. Congratulations on your work in the competition, I am certain that it was exceptionally close in the 4th round. I suspect that you (like myself) are a lifetime gamer. I hope to be playing well into my own ‘venerable age bracket’. Keep on bringing your personal perspective to gaming. You’ve already grabbed the attention of judges/publishers, I’m sure you will grab it again, or you might just find that they grab you for a project.
Hey Matthew, I wanted to congratulate you on your efforts and commiserate about the mapping issues. I was up at about 4 am that round, fervently hoping that I could get in to work to use the scanner there to scan my map in properly. I like your attention to detail; your caltrop golem is a great example of that. The heat/chill metal, hazardous damage, little things like that really improved my feeling for the monster. I can see lots of those attentive details in all your entries. Keep writing and submitting and I know that you will get your name out there.
Which in the end this would kind of rob Matt's victory a bit, because the ultimate prize is publication of the proposed adventure, and since the other pitches are now Paizo property, you could only do it as a collaborative patronage with their blessing like we did with From Shore to Sea, which means the other three contestants get the prize, too.
Of course, we don't want to steal Matt's thunder, and so I'd say make it PDF with a POD option. Only Cult of the Ebon Destroyers goes automagically to print. These other ones get paper when you pay extra.
Doesn't bother me, I did what I hoped (and dreamed) to achieve from the RPG Superstar competition. To me, the more cool adventures out there, the better.
Congratulations Matthew. Your 'Stargate' asteroids into the pryamid was such a 'wow, I wish I'd thought of that' moment. I used the Ossuary Golem in my Location because it was just a neat concept. Paizo has got to want some of that talent in their line up. I know that I want to see more of your stuff.
Neil Spicer wrote:
Thanks Neil, I was very happy to get your vote.I do want to do the same things for future contestants that you have done for me and everyone else in Top 32. Your advice to the Top 32, incredibly useful! I don’t know if I can write as verbosely as yourself (or end each post with ‘But that is my two cents’ :-) but I will endeavour to pass what I have learned on.
Things I can think of at the moment:
Hope that helps,
To Jesse Benner: Hey Jesse, there is a couple of reasons I picked the Chaitrakhan in round 3. It did have a good mix of abilities, and was below CR6 etc etc. But it also has a cool description, I really liked your use of language there. One of the really hard parts of that round was coming up with different description text as flavorful as yours.
Cultural Words: I’m glad people noticed that I tried to make the names not only flavorful but mostly easy to pronounce. By the way, these ones are already Pathfinder canon, so I didn’t have a choice with them: Thukur, Niswan, Mahajanapadas, Maurya-Rahm, adhura.
The Rahshasa: During the design process, I wasn’t sure about including a Rakshasa, I was worried about overloading things with too many overused monsters. However when I visualized the ‘dismissal scene’ I realized that I needed a shapechanging Vudran monster, and that a Rakshasa was the perfect monster for the scene. Being a youngster and an exile is the reason that he is willing to work for those he might consider beneath him. He sees the cult as a route to power and doesn’t worship Kalavei. His youth is also the reason he arrogantly assumes that the PCs will fall for his lies.
The Three Masters: I didn’t imagine the Masters would just line up to get taken down. They are each in separate parts of the temple when the PCs invade and fight using that area to best effect. Both Ikrimah and Deepti have escape plans and, if they can, they retreat to the cult’s fighting arena. I imagined the scene where the PCs have had a hard battle against a ‘fully buffed’ Ikrimah, and then a painful chase encounter with Deepti, who both get away. They get to the arena and Zaafira steps forward and greets them. The PCs are about to attack when Ikrimah dramatically steps out to one side of Zaafira and Deepti materializes from the shadows to the other. That would have to give the PCs pause for thought.
Of course, Ikrimah doesn’t have any short term buffs left and Deepti isn’t in her perfect element, so it isn’t as bad as it looks. All of this does assume that the PCs take a specific series of actions. The reason I thought Zaafira would negotiate and challenge a one-on-one duel is, from a metagame perspective, to avoid a TPK and to make any fighting after the duel easier. Also monk=lawful so a challenge/duel with conditions etc, to prove the power of her goddess is reasonable.
Thanks to Joel Flank for pointing out reasoning behind certain things:
Joel Flank wrote:
This is pretty close to my thoughts.
I'll admit, I was quietly barracking for a fellow Aussie to get into the top 8, and I did think that while both Astrumals diverged from the original design, I thought both were equally well done. Keep submitting stuff, because I know that I want to see some of your 'crazy awesome' in a PFS scenario. BTW, I used to live in Sydney, and I'm going to be up for Eyecon over Easter, I might see you up there.
Just rereading the comments about the Haga, never realised how strongly people were influenced one way or the other. A real shame about the submitting a draft thing (crazy virus thing ouch!). I have come to realise, by competing in this competition, that one thing you have to do is have really good version control on your articles. I know you know that, this is just a hint to future competitors. I went and looked up your penandpaper entry and know that you would have submitted an awesome adventure proposal (I also suspect you have the whole proposal already written :-). I'll be looking forward to seeing you next year, I know you will be back for next year's competition.
Thanks for doing the Churjiir, it made my day to see so many versions of the critter floating around. I did like that you put in the abilities such as spellblight and necrotic wounds and went for interesting rules for them. I probably wouldn't have gone for a disease for spellblight, just because people harvest it from the Churjiir's corpse and abuse it, but I did like the idea of eating spell slots, a good way to handle it. Good luck in the future for RPG Superstar!
Thanks for doing the Churjiir, I did like seeing all the different versions that people made. I did like that you made it as a demon, to keep it different. I also liked that you went for it and did all of the abilities that the Churjiir was described as having. I was happy to see people support you for putting in both the spell eating bite and the necrotic saliva. Go for it, keep up the cool designs (and the amusing Haiku) and I know you will be there for RPG Superstar in 2011.